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All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch: How To Choose?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between all-purpose flour and cornstarch, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the all-purpose flour vs cornstarch comparison.
Michael Whaley, Health Writer

Written by Michael Whaley, Health Writer. Updated on January 30, 2023.

All-purpose flour and cornstarch belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare all-purpose flour and cornstarch and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

All-purpose flour

All-purpose wheat flour (Triticum aestivum) is a type of flour that is made from hard or soft wheat. It is called ‘all-purpose’ because it can be used in various baking applications, including bread, cakes, pastries, and more.

All-purpose wheat flour is a good source of carbohydrates, small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also gluten-rich, allowing it to rise and develop a structure in baking.

All-purpose wheat flour is widely used in baking and cooking and can replace other flours in most recipes. It is also a staple ingredient in many traditional dishes such as bread, pastries, and cakes.

All-purpose wheat flour is not gluten-free and unsuitable for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. It can be enjoyed as a balanced diet combined with vegetables, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.

All-purpose flour is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

However, it contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and some Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).


Cornstarch (Zea mays) is a type of carbohydrate derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel.

It is a good source of energy, providing a high amount of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is pure starch and has a very low nutritional value compared to whole-grain cornmeal.

Cornstarch is commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking, as it can absorb liquids and increase the viscosity of sauces, gravies, and puddings. It is also used as a coating for fried foods to provide a crisp texture. It is a gluten-free ingredient and can be used as a thickener for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Cornstarch is typically used in small amounts and is not a significant source of nutrition in the diet. It is often used as a thickener in combination with other ingredients, and when consumed in moderation, it can be included as part of a healthy diet.

Cornstarch is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing all-purpose flour vs cornstarch.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of all-purpose flour and cornstarch and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

All-purpose flourCornstarch
Energy364 kcal381 kcal
Carbs76.3 g91.3 g
Sugar0.27 g0 g
Fiber2.7 g0.9 g
Protein10.3 g0.26 g
Fat0.98 g0.05 g
Saturated Fat0.155 g0.009 g

All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing all-purpose flour vs cornstarch for weight loss, all-purpose flour is slightly lower in calories, with 364 calories per 100 grams, compared to 381 calories per 100 grams of cornstarch.

However, both all-purpose flour and cornstarch can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch Protein

Grains and most grain products, including all-purpose flour and cornstarch, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

All-purpose flour offers around 97% more protein than cornstarch.

All-purpose flour has 10.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, while cornstarch has 0.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in all-purpose flour and cornstarch.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 16% higher in cornstarch than in all-purpose flour. It has 91.3 grams per 100 grams, compared to 76.3 grams in all-purpose flour.

There’s less sugar in cornstarch than in all-purpose flour, 100% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of cornstarch contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of all-purpose flour contains 0.3 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in all-purpose flour and cornstarch.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 2.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, all-purpose flour is a better source of fiber than cornstarch which all-purpose flour offers 0.9 grams per 100 gram portion.

All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch Fats

Like most other grains, all-purpose flour and cornstarch are low in fat.

Fats in all-purpose flour and cornstarch are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in all-purpose flour and cornstarch:

  • All-purpose flour: 1 grams per 100 grams
  • Cornstarch: 0.1 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, cornstarch is 100% lower in saturated fats.

Cornstarch and all-purpose flour contain 0 grams and 0.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of all-purpose flour and cornstarch.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

However, cornstarch has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

All-purpose flour and cornstarch contain the same amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins all-purpose flour and cornstarch contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

All-purpose flourCornstarch
Vitamin A00
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.12 mg0
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.04 mg0
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)1.25 mg0
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.438 mg0
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.044 mg0
Vitamin B9 (Folate)26 µg0
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.06 mg0
Vitamin K0.3 µg0

All-purpose flour vs Cornstarch Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the all-purpose flour and cornstarch comparison focuses on their mineral content.

All-purpose flour is a better source of sodium than cornstarch.

On the other hand, cornstarch is a higher amount of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

All-purpose flour and cornstarch contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how all-purpose flour and cornstarch compare when it comes to mineral content.

All-purpose flourCornstarch
Calcium15 mg2 mg
Copper0.144 mg0.05 mg
Iron1.17 mg0.47 mg
Magnesium22 mg3 mg
Manganese0.682 mg0.053 mg
Phosphorus108 mg13 mg
Potassium107 mg3 mg
Selenium33.9 µg2.8 µg
Sodium2 mg9 mg
Zinc0.7 mg0.06 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between all-purpose flour and cornstarch.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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